Dennis Maxwell, Sr. – Inside Out and Pops

March 4, 2009

Mr. Dennis Maxwell was recommended to me by email – mysteriously, the email address had many letters that are also in Dennis’s last name, ahem, maxwell…the correspondance informed me that Dennis is “friggin awesome” and that he recently released an album, Crazy Dream, so naturally, I gave him a listen.

I’m happy to say he is the first country artist, and I mean real country – right down to the baritone vocals and the clean twangy guitar – that we’ve reviewed.  There are some squirrely issues vocally, falling flat on quite a few notes during “Inside Out”, but the message is clear – he loves you baby.  It’s a nice ballad with consistent strumming throughout, it left me wishing for a full backing band.  I liked the tone of the guitar, but I felt like this song deserved to be acoustic – it’s begging to be flat picked on a nice Martin – with some mandolin filling out the really high end…mmmm…mmandolin…

Pops begins with a violin and the sound of thunder – kind of reminds me of Thunder Rolls by Garth Brooks – the phrasing of the vocal lines and the heavy guitar are immediate give aways.  The guitar tone is a little harsh for a country tune in this song, I think more twang..and less metal…would serve the music well.  I have to say, this recording is about 200 times better than Inside Out.  One major hint, and something I believe would really really help these two heartfelt offerings would be Dynamics…as the Pixies put it: loudQUIETloud.  The songs both just kind of barrel into you and never give you a chance to rest.  None the less, the songs are straight from Dennis’s soul, you can tell that much.  A little bit more musicality and he’ll be on his way.